The University of California pulled its new logo on Dec. 14 after receiving harsh criticism from students, alumni and community members since it was unveiled at the end of November.
After news of the monogram went viral, many people expressed outrage at its modern and corporate motif.
UC Irvine biomedical engineering student Reaz Rahman started the petition to withdraw the logo on Change.org that ultimately received 54,383 signatures in a week.
“As soon as I saw the new monogram, I knew someone had to do something,” Rahman said. “I decided it was worth a try to voice an honest opinion in a peaceful manner. The monogram itself did not seem to uphold the honor of the University. It loses the prestige and elegance of the current seal.”
In response, UC decided to suspend further use of the monogram as it was causing a distraction from the UC’s broader efforts, according to Daniel Dooley, UC Office of the President senior vice president for external relations.
“The UC community is passionate in its support of the system as a whole, believes any new directions should reflect the tradition, prestige and import of both higher education broadly and UC specifically and wants to be engaged in an open, collaborative dialogue and process,” said UC Office of the President marketing communications director Jason Simon in a Dec. 14 press release.
“We commit to respecting that feedback in determining a path forward as these issues are revisited.”
According to Dooley, the monogram was never intended to replace the traditional UC seal that was introduced in 1895 and designed by Tiffany & Co. Instead, the monogram was created in an effort to differentiate system-wide communication material with that of the 10 individual campuses. Furthermore, the UC wanted a logo that would reproduce clearly on smartphones and iPads.
Dooley explained that the monogram was part of a larger approach to reinvent the UC’s visual identity, including typography, photography and colors.
“While I believe the design element in question would win wide acceptance over time, it also is important that we listen to and respect what has been a significant negative response by students, alumni and other members of our community,” Dooley stated in a press release.
Rahman said that if the UC system continues to re-image itself, a better and improved design would be established to represent all 10 campuses with more prestige.
“I believe it is a victory of democracy that the new identity was tabled. This petition really demonstrated how the UC community can come together and voice our opinions in an effective manner,” he said.
Fourth-year psychology major Hinano Akiyama agreed.
“I’m glad the university took students’ opinions into consideration,” Akiyama said. “I like that the UC is not completely out of touch with us, and that in the midst of all the tuition hikes, our voices are still heard.”
STEPHANIE B. NGUYEN can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.